Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/18/2018

A gunman opened fire inside a church in Dagestan in the Russian Caucasus, killing four people and wounding four others before being killed himself. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. Voices were raised in the Dumas calling for tighter gun control in Russia.

OK, so I made that last part up. But still…

In other news, the Council of Europe took Sweden to task for not importing more migrants.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Charles Low, Insubria, JD, Reader from Chicago, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

» Artificial Intelligence Poses Questions for Nature of War: Mattis
» Julian Assange Wants to Know Who Can Answer This Question About Mass Shootings
» Liberal Gun Control Insanity
» Mind-Altering Drug Makers Fund Anti-Gun Media
» Minnesota Woman, 19, Who Allegedly Told Students to ‘Join the Jihad, ‘ is Indicted
» Soros Jr is Dropping Huge Stacks on Democrats
» Stabbing Victim Says Assailant Shouted ‘Allah’
» The Black Panther Movie is Racist
» UPenn Law Professor Told to Take ‘Leave of Absence’ For Politically Incorrect Views
Europe and the EU
» “The Battle Against Teenage Pimps in Belgium is Failing”
» France: Former Le Pen Aide Florian Philippot Launches Far-Right Political Party
» Hungary’s Viktor Orban Vows to Fight Brussels and Predicts EU Split in Election Rant
» Italy: Centre-Left Only Pillar for Pro-EU Govt — Gentiloni
» Italy: League No Longer Separatist — Salvini
» Italy: ENI Back in Black: 3.43 Bn Earnings in 2017
» Italy: Antitrust in Fresh Telecoms Step
» Italy: Centre Right at 35.6%, Centre Left 27.9%, M5S 28.6% — Poll
» Soros-Funded Anti-Brexit Group Reveals Cash to be Spent on Summer of Ads, Music Festival, And App
» Thank God for the Olympics
» UK: Man Who Raped Teenage Girl Held Sharp Piece of Wood to Her Throat and Said: ‘You Cannot be a Virgin Because You Are White’
» Warning: UK Could be Flooded by 100 ISIS Jihadis But We Are Ready, Terror Officer Says
North Africa
» Morocco OKs Law Against Violence on Women, Wives Excluded
Middle East
» ‘Do Not Test Israel’s Resolve, ‘ Netanyahu Warns Iran in Munich
» Iran Environmentalist’s Suicide in Jail Challenged
» Turkish Opposition Leader Convicted of Documenting Arms Trafficking to Syria
» Four Dead After Russian Church Shooting
» ISIS Claims Deadly Attack on Churchgoers in Russia
South Asia
» Lima Chisim: First Woman Christian Sergeant of Bangladesh (Video)
» Pakistan: Spinal Fluid Theft From Unsuspecting Women in Punjab is a Crime Against Humanity
Far East
» Bloomberg: Thailand, Singapore and Japan Are Least Miserable Economies in the World
Australia — Pacific
» “Shrouded” Spouse of Man Accused of Terrorism Ejected From Aussie Courtroom
Latin America
» Witnessing Venezuela’s Exodus
» Anti-Christian Crime Causes Increasing Concern in Germany
» Austrian Chancellor: Without Strong Borders Our Entire World is in Danger
» Council of Europe Slams Crime Wave Sweden for Not Taking MORE Migrants
» Germany: Town Teaches Muslim Migrants How to Pick Up Non-Muslim Women
» Sweden Democrats Promise to Reduce Asylum Numbers to Zero and End Chain Migration
» Swedish Politician: There Are Already Small Civil Wars in Our Country, We Need Zero Immigration

Artificial Intelligence Poses Questions for Nature of War: Mattis

Artificial intelligence and its impact on weapons of the future has made US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis doubt his own theories on warfare.

A question on the subject prompted the retired Marine general to give an impromptu seminar on his theory of war Saturday to reporters returning with him from a week-long tour of Europe.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Julian Assange Wants to Know Who Can Answer This Question About Mass Shootings

Julian Assange had a pretty pertinent question for Democrats:

Can anyone answer this simple question?

Why is it that 94% of mass shootings are perpetrated by people who have either identified or registered as a Democrat?

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Liberal Gun Control Insanity

by Roger Anghis

This last week we experienced another result of the liberal insanity that has been forced upon America for the last fifty years. The hard-left dingbats, there is no other term that they can nicely be referred to as, started screaming before the day was over that the NRA and anyone who supports them have blood on their hands because of the most recent school shooting. Of coarse they said that about the last several shootings even though none of the shooters have been members of the NRA, possessed their guns legally and, in my opinion, the biggest factor of all, they were Democrats as virtually all mass shooters have been over the last fifty years.

Please don’t get me wrong, this incident in Florida is a tragic example of the failed ideals of the left. The left is doing what the lefts ALWAYS does, blame conservatives of what they themselves are doing. This was a tactic of Hitler in the 1930’s. I can remember back to the assignation of JFK and the calls for gun control, gun bans and other acts that violate our constitutional rights. I saw a meme the other day with Morgan Freeman that stated, “In Africa a man kills a lion and a person is blamed for the killing but in America when a man kills another man, the gun is blamed”. I have no idea if he said that but it is a common sense statement the left refuses to address. There is really only one reason the left wants guns banned and it is NOT for the ‘safety of children’ as they are famous for saying. It’s because they can’t control an armed populace. If the ‘safety of children’ was really their concern they would oppose abortions and they would demand that school teachers be armed. Think about that for a minute.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Mind-Altering Drug Makers Fund Anti-Gun Media

It isn’t surprising the mainstream media — and late night entertainers — focus on guns instead of SSRIs linked to mass shootings given that they’re well-funded by drug makers.

Virtually every suspected mass shooter was on psychiatric drugs, yet the mainstream media — which is funded by Big Pharma ad revenue — conveniently buries this fact.

That’s likely because Big Pharma spent nearly $6 billion on TV, magazine and digital advertisements in 2016 alone, a healthy sum ad-dependent news outlets cannot ignore.

In fact, the media is so dependent on this ad revenue that some outlets have even launched “health content businesses” to attract consumers targeted by Big Pharma.

“It doesn’t surprise me that media companies are getting into pharma advertising, given the total value at stake in pharma sales,” said Brian Fox, a consultant with McKinsey & Company.

This would explain the mainstream media’s indifference when it comes to investigating the link between serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and mass shootings.

As Infowars reported, suspected Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz may have been autistic and taking medication for emotional issues, yet only Infowars, World Net Daily and a handful of others are shining a light on the SSRI epidemic.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Minnesota Woman, 19, Who Allegedly Told Students to ‘Join the Jihad, ‘ is Indicted

A Minnesota woman whom prosecutors said set fires at a Minnesota university out of anger because of U.S. military actions overseas was charged with terrorism Wednesday after she allegedly tried to assist a terrorist organization last year.

Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, was charged in federal court for attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda, lying to the FBI and arson, Fox 9 reported. She was initially arrested Jan. 17 after she set eight fires in seven buildings on the St. Catherine University campus in St. Paul.

The Minneapolis woman admitted to investigators that she started the fires, which prosecutors said were sparked when she was “reading about the US military destroying schools in Iraq or Afghanistan and she felt that she should do exactly the same thing,” a criminal complaint read.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Soros Jr is Dropping Huge Stacks on Democrats

Alexander Soros, the son of billionaire investor George Soros, gave $650,000 to Democratic candidates and committees in 2017, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

The young financier, much like his father, is on his way to becoming one of the large power players in the Democratic Party.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Stabbing Victim Says Assailant Shouted ‘Allah’

Officer Brian Jordan and Officer Bronson McNeil arrived on scene and met Adam Wallace and Fahad Hamad Alsawidan outside one of the apartments. The officers reported seeing Wallace bleeding significantly from his right arm, with a shirt wrapped around it as a makeshift tourniquet.

Wallace claimed he had been stabbed, and described the suspect as a Middle Eastern male in a black jacket and denim jeans. Officers were dispatched with the description.

Wallace told police he was stabbed because he didn’t follow Islam, and that during the stabbing, the suspect yelled “Allah!” several times.

Alyami was later detained and brought to the location of the incident. Wallace reportedly identified him as the suspect and said his name was Ibrahim. Alyami reportedly confirmed his first name, and was placed under arrest.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Black Panther Movie is Racist

Why is Hollywood spreading hate?

Black Panther’s Wakanda:

  • Ethno-state
  • Homogenous
  • No immigration
  • Nationalist
  • Isolationist
  • Protected by walls
  • Exploits own resources

Why is Hollywood pandering to the Alt-Right and racist Trump supporters?

[Comment: Elite globalists are trying to created am ethnic civil war in the USA. The last thing these evil globalists want is for blacks and whites in America to realize they are being manipulated into conflict so they don’t unite against the globalist run deep state and it’s operatives.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

UPenn Law Professor Told to Take ‘Leave of Absence’ For Politically Incorrect Views

After publicly addressing liberal taboos and free speech on American college campuses, a University of Pennsylvania Law School professor received a condemnatory “open letter” signed by 33 of her colleagues denouncing her views.

Some time after the publication of the open letter attacking Professor Amy Wax, who is UPenn’s Robert Mundheim Professor of Law, the dean of the law school asked her to take a leave of absence next year and to stop teaching a mandatory first-year course, saying he was getting “pressure” to banish the professor for her conservative views.

Professor Wax’s crime consisted in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer last August in which she and a colleague from the University of San Diego Law School dared to suggest that many of the “bourgeois” values that reigned in America prior to the 1960s were actually good for society and “a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains and social coherence of that period.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

“The Battle Against Teenage Pimps in Belgium is Failing”

The organisation for missing and abused children Child Focus says that Belgium’s approach to tackling the issue of teenage pimps that lure girls of a similar age into prostitution is all wrong. Child Focus’s Yasmin Van Damme says in an interview with VRT News that “The figures show that the current approach is not working”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

France: Former Le Pen Aide Florian Philippot Launches Far-Right Political Party

Five months after leaving Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front, Florian Philippot held the first congress of his Patriotes movement. He made his opening speech to a few hundred of the 6,500 members he claims.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Hungary’s Viktor Orban Vows to Fight Brussels and Predicts EU Split in Election Rant

HUNGARIAN leader Viktor Orban launched his election campaign by lashing out at Brussels, Germany and France, accusing their leaders of being a danger to his country and predicting a split between eastern and western Europe.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre-Left Only Pillar for Pro-EU Govt — Gentiloni

Italian premier meets Merkel in Berlin

(ANSA) — Rome, February 16 — Premier Paolo Gentiloni said Friday that he sees the centre-left coalition led by his Democratic Party (PD) as the only truly pro-European contender ahead of the March 4 general election. “I think that the only possible pillar for a stable, pro-Europe government can be the centre-left coalition led by the PD,” Gentiloni told a news conference after a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: League No Longer Separatist — Salvini

We are federalist says party leader

(ANSA) — Campobasso, February 16 — League leader Matteo Salvini said Friday that his party was now a national movement and is not longer seeking independence for Italy’s more prosperous northern regions. “Secession never again, especially in 2018,” Salvini said at a rally in the southern city of Campobasso ahead of the March 4 general election.

“We are autonomists and federalists.

“As I tour (around the country) I always see the squares full (at rallies) and I’m convinced that there will be ballot boxes full for the League in the south too.

“Before the League only looked at a part of the country. Now we have made different choices.

“And if they call me in the south, like here in Campobasso, we have already won”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: ENI Back in Black: 3.43 Bn Earnings in 2017

Descalzi sees ‘substantial surplus value for our shareholders’

(ANSA) — Rome, February 16 — Italian energy giant Eni said Friday that it was back in the black in 2017, making earnings of 3.43 billion euros compared to a 1.4-billion-euro loss in 2016. It said its net adjusted profit for 2017 was 2.41 billion euros. The rise was driven by net profit of 2.1 billion euros and a 0.98-billion-euro adjusted profit in the fourth quarter thanks to higher gas prices and record production.

“Should conditions be more favourable, we will be in a position to create substantial surplus value for our shareholders,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Antitrust in Fresh Telecoms Step

‘New sanctions’ possible for non-compliance with monthly bills

(ANSA) — Rome, February 16 — After a return to monthly billing, Italy’s antitrust authority (AGCM) on Friday cited TIM, Wind Tre, Vodafone, Fastweb and Sky for “not respecting norms on clarity, transparency and completeness of information”. It said the firms must clear up with users that “eventual” cost increases “are exclusively the consequence of choices by operators” and not of the return to monthly bills. AGCM also started “new sanctions proceedings” for those who did not comply with the ruling to make monthly billings.

Telecoms giants TIM, Wind, Vodafone and Fastweb on Thursday reacted to an antitrust billing probe against telecoms firms by saying they had never carried out anti-competitive practices.

In a statement TIM said it “reiterates that it always operated respecting the norms in force and ensuring full cooperation to all sector authorities and the maximum transparency to its clients”.

TIM “categorically excludes that there was any coordination of its commercial strategy with other operators also with regard to the ways and timescales for complying with the law which imposes all the market to adopt, by April 5 2018, the monthly billing schedule”.

Wind said that “Wind Tre, in the course of today’s inspection by the antitrust authority, supplied, with the utmost collaboration, all the information requested. The company confirms it fully respected the dispositions of the law and it has nothing to do with any anti-competitive practice”.

Vodafone told ANSA “it is convinced of the correctness of its operations and is actively collaborating with the antitrust authority” in the billing probe.

Fastweb issued a similar statement.

Earlier AGCM said it had opened a probe into TIM, Vodafone, Fastweb, Wind Tre and sector association Assotelecomunicazioni-Asstel to see if they coordinated their commercial strategy to make billing on a monthly basis with “almost identical methods”. At the same time, the antitrust watchdog said, the companies had allegedly hiked the monthly bills “to distribute overall annual spending over 12 months rather than 13”.

Finance police on Thursday conducted inspections on behalf of Italy’s antitrust authority at the offices of the country’s main fixed-line and mobile telecommunications operators, sources said.

The inspections were related to suspicions of competition-limiting agreements among the operators and the issue of invoicing customers on a 28-day basis or on a monthly one, the sources said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Centre Right at 35.6%, Centre Left 27.9%, M5S 28.6% — Poll

(ANSA) — Rome, February 16 — The centre right were at 35.6% and the centre left at 27.9% in a new IPSOS poll for Correre della Sera Friday.

The anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), which eschews alliances, was on 28.6%.

Some 33.8% of those polled were still undecided on who they will vote for in the March 4 general election.

If the poll is accurate, the election will produce a hung parliament.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Soros-Funded Anti-Brexit Group Reveals Cash to be Spent on Summer of Ads, Music Festival, And App

Nearly all the UK’s major anti-Brexit groups are coordinating in a fresh push to keep the country in the EU, launching a summer of campaigns, a music festival, a new app, and public adverts, starting in weeks.

“The new money that we’ve got in the last few days and the Soros match-funding is to deploy guerrilla marketing, also on social media,” a coordinator for Best for Britain toldPolitico.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Thank God for the Olympics

by Geert Wilders

My country, the Netherlands, is doing extremely well in the 2018 Winter Olympics. It is great to see how the Dutch successes are reinforcing feelings of national pride and patriotism. Thank God for the Olympics! Cheering one’s own athletes over foreigners has nothing to do with discrimination, racism or jingoism. Sporting events are one of the few occasions where people can still unabashedly display feelings of national pride without being judged for it by the leftist cosmopolitan elites.

National pride is fantastic. In his farewell address as president, Ronald Reagan said that one of the achievements he was most proud of was “the resurgence of national pride.” Reagan called it “the new patriotism.” Patriotism is one of the biggest strengths of a nation. Waving the national flag is so much more than bringing a tribute to successful athletes. It also links us to a heritage and a tradition. Our national flag symbolizes ancient loyalties embodying the legacy of our fathers, which we want to bestow on our children.

The nation-state is one the greatest contributions of Western civilization to the world. It is the home of our democracy as well as the guarantor of our freedom. Adherence to the nation-state is also a moral duty. Our Judeo-Christian civilization is based on the values of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome. Jerusalem, where the love for the state of Israel was taught. Athens, where service to the democratic state was the highest good. And Rome, where honor depended on duty to the Republic.

Islam is totally alien to this central idea of our Western civilization. It does not want us to love our country. It wants to eradicate all nations and replace them by the Ummah, the worldwide Islamic community. Islam is not nation-centered but globalist by nature. That is why our cosmopolitan elites with their globalist dreams of supranational institutions like it so much. Since the 1960s, a loathing of morality and patriotism has become the style for those who consider themselves our elites. Discriminating against their own people has become their fashion. They feel appalled by great Western thinkers, such as the 13th century Italian, Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that “no-one can properly worship God without honoring his country, for the greater virtue — honor to God — includes the lesser — honor to parents and country.”

The Olympics, however, reflect the Western ideals. It is no coincidence that they originated in ancient Greece with its many states.

Next week, the Dutch athletes from Pyeongchang will return home. Dozens of supporters will flock to Schiphol airport to prepare a warm welcome. They will wave the national tricolor and the entire nation will share their joy and glory. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is likely to honor them and receive them. And so he should!

[Return to headlines]

UK: Man Who Raped Teenage Girl Held Sharp Piece of Wood to Her Throat and Said: ‘You Cannot be a Virgin Because You Are White’

Ahmed Abdoule, 33, has been jailed for 11 years at Hull Crown Court

A rapist held a sharp piece of wood to a teenage girl’s throat and told her “my country would love you” in a horrifying attack.

Ahmed Abdoule, 33, of west Hull, told the girl it was impossible she could be a virgin “because she was white”.

He also pulled her top over her head so he did not have to look at her while he raped her.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Warning: UK Could be Flooded by 100 ISIS Jihadis But We Are Ready, Terror Officer Says

THE UK could be flooded by up to 100 sick ISIS killers now the “caliphate has been defeated militarily” but the police are “absolutely waiting” and prepared, a senior counter-terror officer has disclosed.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu emphasised that authorities are “absolutely waiting” for any militants who try to come back.

But he played down the prospect of all those who are technically eligible to re-enter the country doing so.

Mr Basu noted that not all of those are “mono-Brits”, saying the number includes “a lot” of dual nationals.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Morocco OKs Law Against Violence on Women, Wives Excluded

Harassment through text messages punished but not spousal abuse

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, FEBRUARY 15 — Morocco’s parliament has approved legislation against violence on women. It took 1,200 days for MPs to approve law 103-13, also known as ‘Hakkauoi law’, after Family and Solidarity Minister Bassima Hakkaoui who promoted it.

The legislation obtained its second and final approval on Valentine’s Day with 168 yes votes and 55 nays and is considered a step forward to promote gender equality.

The law’s first vote dates back to June 2006, when 83 lawmakers voted in favor and 22 against.

The legislation now extends the term violence to acts of aggression and abuse via text messages, vocal messages or photos, sexual exploitation, aggression and abuse in the workplace and harshens punishment in situations like pregnancy or in the event that violence is perpetrated by people who are known to the victim, like colleagues. However, the legislation does not contemplate spousal abuse, a controversial issue in civil society.

From now on, someone who abuses a woman on the street can be sentenced to six months in prison while someone who forces a minor into marriage can get one year. However, prosecuting spousal violence is still difficult, although the national council for human rights CNDH has urged an amendment to the legislation in this sense. Article 486 of the Moroccan criminal code punishes sexual violence but is ambiguous in its definition, according to experts.

The approval of this law closes the winter session of parliament. The 395 MPs of the House chaired by Socialist MP Habib El Malki and 120 Senators led by Hakim Benchmach will meet again on April 14 for the spring session.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Do Not Test Israel’s Resolve, ‘ Netanyahu Warns Iran in Munich

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran on Sunday over aggressions by Iran and its “proxies” in Syria, saying he would not allow them to “put a noose around our neck”.

           — Hat tip: Charles Low [Return to headlines]

Iran Environmentalist’s Suicide in Jail Challenged

Kavous Seyed Emami, 64, was a leading member of the Persian Wildlife Foundation. But according to the prosecution he was part of an espionage ring organised by the CIA and Mossad. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a video that ostensibly backs the suicide theory; however, some Iranian lawmakers, activists and the dead man’s family have rejected the official version.

Tehran (AsiaNews) — Iranian-Canadian sociologist Kavous Seyed Emami was discretely buried Tuesday under a heavy downpour. About 200 people took part in the funeral ceremony in the small cemetery of the mountain village of Emameh, about 40 km from the capital, Tehran.

According to Iranian authorities, the scholar took his own life in Evin prison, a place where political prisoners and dissidents are held.

Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that Seyed-Emami was arrested on 24 January for being a member of a spying ring operated by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad.

The 64-year-old Seyed-Emami was the managing director of the Persian Wildlife Foundation, one of Iran’s most important conservationist organisations focused on protecting the country’s biodiversity.

Last Friday (9 February), prison authorities urgently called the scholar’s wife to inform her that he had taken his own life.

Family and friends have challenged the official version and do not believe that he committed suicide in his cell.

In Iran itself, many people, including moderate and progressive lawmakers, want to know what really happened as the affair has many loose ends.

An autopsy was recently performed, whose results are expected in the coming days. The dead man’s family are especially eager to see the post-mortem report.

Tehran Prosecutor Dolatabadi said the authorities had dismantled an espionage operation conducted by the CIA and Mossad designed to cause environmental crises.

According to the indictment, the Persian Wildlife Foundation was set up “about a decade ago” as a cover to collect “classified information in defence and missile fields.”

Its members had infiltrated the local scientific community and collected sensitive information, including data about missile bases.

For Prosecutor Dolatabadi, Seyed-Emami was one of the main contacts for US agents and an intelligence officer had stayed at his home.

Allegedly, one of the main financial backers of the network is an Iranian-American, Morad Tahbaz, who also holds British citizenship. He too is a member of the Persian Wildlife Foundation and was arrested last month.

Recently, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) released a video ostensibly showing Seyed-Emami’s last hours as evidence of the official claim of suicide. However, several Iranian lawmakers, after seeing it, have raised doubts about its veracity, and have demanded further investigations.

One of them is Ali Motahhari, a deputy speaker of Iran’s Majlis (parliament). He said that the video does not show the moment when the scholar took his own life by hanging himself with his shirt.

In fact, according to some anonymous sources, Seyed-Emami’s death is related to renewed infighting between Iran’s right-wing (Pasdaran and conservatives) and the moderate-reformist camp close to President Hassan Rouhani.

The bone of contention appears to be the president’s soft stance at home and towards the West, including the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) in 2015.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Turkish Opposition Leader Convicted of Documenting Arms Trafficking to Syria

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoglu will have to serve five years and 10 months. For the judges he provided “secret information” to a pro-opposition newspaper. His arrest comes after a massive march from Ankara to Istanbul, the most important anti-government demonstration in recent months.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) — A court in Istanbul yesterday sentenced a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) to five years and 10 months in prison. The judges found him guilty of leaking classified material to a daily critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan..

Last June Enis Berberoglu, one of the Chp’s most prominent personalities, had been sentenced to 25 years in prison; however, a regional court of appeal in Istanbul had overturned the sentence and, in October, ordered the repetition of the trial.

According to the official Turkish news agency Anadolu, he had ended up at the bar for “leaking information” that “should have remained classified, for the sake of state security”.

The controversial story of Berberoglu dates back to 2015, with the publication by the newspaper Cumhuriyet (close to the opposition and repeatedly subjected to government attacks since the failed coup in July 2016) of compromising photos. The images showed elements of Turkish intelligence intent on transporting weapons across the border, in Syria.

The Chp parliamentarian passed the images to the former director of Cumhuriyet Can Dundar, who fled the country seeking refuge in Germany, after receiving a sentence of five years and 10 months in prison.

The Chp deputy has been in jail since last June. To date, he is the first and only parliamentarian of the main secular opposition party who has been imprisoned and condemned following the attempted coup, in which Erdogan’s power wavered for several hours.

The indictment of Berberoglu had led the Chp leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to promote a protest march from Ankara to Istanbul, which gathered thousands of people. A walk that represented the highest point of the opposition protest against the government since the 2013 demonstrations against President Erdogan.

Since the coup attempt against the government and its leader, the Turkish authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people in the context of a massive repression campaign. The government crackdown has targeted journalists, intellectuals, professors, soldiers, public officials or judges; doctors, athletes, entrepreneurs and even ordinary citizens. The often specious accusations include affiliation to Kurdish “terrorist” groups or membership of the movement that belongs to the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, in exile in Pennsylvania (United States).

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Four Dead After Russian Church Shooting

Four people have been killed after a gunman opened fire on people leaving a church service in Russia’s Dagestan region.

Russian news agency Tass reported that the gunman died after killing four worshippers and wounding four others in an attack in the town on Kizlyar.

           — Hat tip: Vlad Tepes [Return to headlines]

ISIS Claims Deadly Attack on Churchgoers in Russia

A lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of people as they left church Sunday, killing five and injuring several others.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority province of Dagestan in southern Russia. ISIS has carried out a number of attacks on security personnel in the region.

The assailant was identified as 22-year-old Khalil Khalilov, a local resident. Armed with a knife and a hunting rifle, as well as extra ammunition, the attacker reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before pumping rounds into his victims, a priest told local media, according to the New York Times. In its official statement, ISIS identified the attacker as Khalil al-Degestani.

[Comment: I believe this event was mentioned by Елена in the comments section.]

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Lima Chisim: First Woman Christian Sergeant of Bangladesh (Video)

The policewoman comes from a poor family from the diocese of Mymensingh. The local Church and the priests helped her to pay for her studies. A Catholic cousin and politician provided the references and avoided paying a bribe. “My dream is to help other poor students who do not have the money to pay for school”.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) — Bangladesh has its first Christian female police sergeant. She is Lima Chisim and comes from a poor family of Biroidakuni, in the diocese of Mymensingh. She studied at the Biroidakuni High School in Mymensingh and later graduated from the public university in Dhaka. She became a policewoman in 2015, after six months of training. Daughter of a father who did not struggle to keep family members, Lima changed the fate of family members. In life, he follows in a faithful way the values of Christ. She was active in the initiatives of the [local] Church and carried out social work with priests and nuns.

Lima has agreed to speak with the AsiaNews correspondent in the Pime House of Dhaka [the residence of the fathers of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, ed.]. As a sergeant, she holds a mid-level position within the police force. In Bangladesh, the sergeants are responsible for regulating traffic and are in charge of maintaining order on the roads of the country. We serve the community by ensuring traffic safety. In 2015, for the first time, the Bengali police hired 28 women as road sergeants. Among them, only Lima is Christian.

What motivated her to become a police officer?

In 2008, I attend in a reception program of first Catholic State Minister for Social Welfare Advocate Promod Manikn in Dhaka. At that time I read in collage. In the program a Muslim sergeant named Kamrul Bage was present from our Mymensingh. He talked along others in the program as guest, at that time I felt I should be a Sergeant. But I did not know that in Bangladesh don’t have any Sergeant post for woman. However, in 2015, I saw a job vacancy notice in the newspaper. I applied for the post and I gave test and I was passed.

Who helped you apply to get into the police?

When I was selected in the exam, I was very happy. On the other hand I was also very worried because my relatives said without bribe it is not possible to get job in police department. They said you need 1300000 (13000 euro) to get the job. I was passing worries days. My parents don’t have ability to give me the money to get job. At that time, my cousin Father Joseph Chisim advised me to meet another Catholic Sergeants named Amol Gomes. Amol Gomes and Catholic politician Advocate Promod Mankin gave me their reference and without any bribe I got job in Bangladesh police. I am very thankful to them.

Did you have to overcome social obstacles to be a policewoman,?

My village people said to my father and mother that without bribe your daughter will not get the job, and although she get job she could not lead honest life. They seem all Bangladeshi polices are corrupted!

Tell us about your family.

My father Bikash Richil is a farmer and mother Baby Chisim is a house wife. We are two sister and we have two brothers, among them I am eldest child of our parents. They all stay in Biroidakuni parish in Mymensingh. My father could not provide us three meals in a day and could not bear our educational costs. However, I got support from Catholic diocese of Mymensingh, priests, nuns and World Vision Bangladesh in different time in my study life. Without their help I could not have finished my study.

What do you think of the profession you have undertaken?

It is a real challenge. With my work, I am at the service of the rich, the poor and the [people of] middle class. One day I met a man who was going to New Market (a famous shopping area in Dhaka), but he had been robbed of everything. The victim shared with me what had happened to him. I spoke to the driver of a public transport bus and convinced him to bring him back home. I intervene to protect victims of theft attempts. Almost every day I help someone.

What is the advantage of your work?

I have a good salary. I can have a promotion after five years. I receive security and social respect. I can do this job for the next 30 years.

What kind of challenges do you face as a policewoman?

Being woman police, my colleagues do cooperation me. My duty is to control transport in the road. It is a challenge that there are few public toilets in the city. It is a biggest challenge for woman police, but our authority gives us duty where has lavatory nearby. When women police ask help by walkie talkie, our control room take our message first and take action rapidly. Some drivers would not obey the traffic rules. They became anger on woman police, they seem woman police will fear them, but I take action against them if they do any illegal. It is really a challenging job especially like Dhaka city.

How can you apply your Christian values in your work place?

I built my basic foundation in the missionary school, it is Holy Cross Brother runs the school. Beside academic education, they also taught moral values. My parents, priests and nuns taught me Christian values. I was involved in different church activity when I was student like Young Catholic Student (YCS), a movement for Catholic students. All these help me to be a perfect human being and I follow in my profession aptly. I never think to be dishonest in my life. I want serve my whole life like salt and light of holy Bible.

What is your dream?

I see dream to help to helpless people in my life. I wish very soon I will start sponsor some needy students who cannot read for money because in my past days, I also obtained many support from Catholic priests, nuns, and fund of Catholic diocese of Mymensingh. If I did not get support from them, today I could not be a police. Therefore, I determined I will help some helpless learners so that they also can fulfill their dream, it is my dream!

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Spinal Fluid Theft From Unsuspecting Women in Punjab is a Crime Against Humanity

Police arrested four people in connection with phoney blood samples taken from at least 12 women. The criminals promised government medical assistance but instead took advantage of the victims’ poverty.

Lahore (AsiaNews) — A criminal gang in Punjab stole spinal fluid from poor women, unaware that they were undergoing a delicate medical operation, and sold it on the black market. Police discovered the scam and arrested four people.

The criminals were active in the Hafizabad area and took advantage of their victims’ poverty, and enrolled in a phoney government-funded medical assistance programme.

Various health care specialists spoke to AsiaNews about the issue. “This is a crime against humanity,” said Dr Ammar Aslam, Services Hospital Lahore. “It’s sad to see human organs and parts stolen but what is to be determined is who the clients are and who is buying this stuff from them”.

According to police who broke up the gang, at least 12 women were the victims of the deception, including a teenager. In fact, the scam came to light after the father of a 17-year-old woman noticed that she was very weak after what he thought was a medical examination.

The crooks tricked the victims by telling them that they were just going to provide a blood sample, said regional police officer Ashfaq Ahmed Khan. But instead of taking them to the hospital, they were brought to the home of a female gang member to have spinal fluid removed.

“Stealing spinal fluid is a new scam in our country,” said Aslam Masih, deputy head of the Lay Camillian Family, a Catholic NGO. “In Pakistan,’ he explained, “30 per cent of the population (about 59 million people) lives below the poverty line. Only an experienced surgeon can perform a similar procedure. This is why those arrested should not be treated as ordinary criminals.”

The Catholic association has been working in rural Punjab since 2001. It raises awareness about the risks of illegal medical practices, and its employees visit the sick and organises free medical camps.

Last year it set up three such camps in the Okara district, providing screening and free medical drugs for the poor.

“Even in our medical missions, we only prick fingers to get a few drops of blood,” Aslam Masih said. “The government should expand its search to break up this network of murderers”.

For Dr Bilal Ahmad, it is unclear “what the purpose of this gang was. If the quantity [of spinal fluid] increases above a certain level, it can lead to permanent paralysis and even death. The needle can damage the hindbrain. Media and government health facilities should raise awareness.”

“This is worse than organ trafficking,” said Cecil Shane Chaudhry, executive director of the National Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan. “We demand a thorough investigation. Those responsible should be taken to task.”

Hamza Arshad, writer, researcher and activist, believes that the case “shows the bankruptcy of [Pakistani] society. People want to become rich overnight. Many gangs act with impunity.”

“Some make porn movies of children; others extract kidneys; and still others are involved in land frauds and forged documents.”

“All these vile actions take place under the sun,” he laments, “and now this scandal.” In his view, “It is due to a weak justice system and institutional flaws.” Sadly, “The poor fall prey to false promises, often with dangerous consequences “.

(Kamran Chaudhry contributed to this article)

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Bloomberg: Thailand, Singapore and Japan Are Least Miserable Economies in the World

The ranking is based on how inflation and unemployment affect people’s attitude towards the economy. The misery index covers 66 economies. This year’s forecast sees China, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia doing worse, whilst South Korea joins the top ten least miserable economies.

New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Thailand, Singapore and Japan are the “least miserable” economies in the world, this according to the Bloomberg Misery Index, which measures how low inflation and unemployment make people feel about their country’s economy.

In 2017, Thailand ranked first, with a misery value of 1.9, followed by Singapore at 2.8 and Japan at 3.3. The top ten includes Taiwan in sixth place (4.4), Israel in seventh (4.5), Hong Kong in eighth tied with Denmark (4.6), and China in tenth (5.5).

However, China is expected to drop out of the top ten in 2018,. The forecast shows its score rising to 6.3 pushing it into 17th position. Consumer prices are expected to rise 2.3 per cent this year, compared with 1.6 per cent last year. Hong Kong too should drop to 10th place along with Denmark at 5.7.

The decline does not affect the other Asian countries in the top ranks. In 2018, Thailand (2.5) and Singapore (3.2) will keep their respective positions, albeit with a higher misery value.

Japan goes from 3.3 to 3.6 holding onto third position but sharing it with Switzerland. Taiwan (4.9) and Israel (5.2) overtake Iceland in fifth and sixth place. South Korea joins the top ten list, sharing the eighth place with Norway (5.6).

South Korea and Norway have also done well in terms of the Bloomberg 2018 Innovation Index, where they are ranked in first and 15th place. Malaysia deserves a mention, as its improves its position in the Misery Index, moving to 52nd place from 43rd thanks to moderate inflation.

It’s bad news for Saudi Arabia. In 2018, it will take the tenth spot among the most miserable economies, up from 14th, with its misery value going from 12.5 to 15.4.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

“Shrouded” Spouse of Man Accused of Terrorism Ejected From Aussie Courtroom

If you want your case heard in Australian Judge Christopher Beale’s courtroom, you better make sure your face is visible, or take a seat outside.

Howls of Islamophobia rang out after the shrouded spouse of a man on trial for terrorism chose to leave his courtroom rather than remove her burqa.

But Judge Beale isn’t an Islamophobe. He was merely following the rules:

You can’t wear a hat, a cap or even sunglasses on top of your head in an Aussie courtroom. If those things are offside, then surely, so is a burqa.

Regardless, several Australian Islamic leaders are frothing mad.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Witnessing Venezuela’s Exodus

CUCUTA, Colombia — Latin America analysts are bracing for a Syria-sized exodus in the Western Hemisphere, as beleaguered Venezuelans flee a humanitarian crisis of a country at war, but without tanks and bombs.

The weapons of mass destruction in Venezuela’s case have been hyperinflation, starvation, sickness and fear — especially fear of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the powerful SEBIN — Venezuela’s the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service. Its commander is affectionately known as ‘220’ for the voltage applied to a detainee’s genitals in between bouts of being forced to eat human excrement. It happens routinely, and it happens to my friends.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Anti-Christian Crime Causes Increasing Concern in Germany

German conservative politicians have expressed shock after figures leaked by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) revealed 97 anti-Christian hate crimes in the country last year.

The figure was published by the Funkemedia group several months before the German security forces are due to release official annual crime statistics. A BKA spokeswoman told DW that the figures were still preliminary and could be subject to addition or alteration, and only covered the period up to the end of November.

According to the reports, a quarter of the 97 cases comprised attacks on churches and Christian symbols, and there were 14 cases of violent “anti-Christian crimes” among asylum-seekers or refugees. That number includes the murder of a Christian convert by a fellow refugee in Prien, Bavaria. There were also nine cases of bodily harm.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Austrian Chancellor: Without Strong Borders Our Entire World is in Danger

Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz, said at a security conference in Munich that the inflow of migrants “may undermine peace and prosperity in Europe”.

“To ensure peace in the EU we got rid of the borders in the EU a long time ago, but without proper external border protection these borders are in danger. If we don’t do that, our entire world will be in danger”, Kurz said.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Council of Europe Slams Crime Wave Sweden for Not Taking MORE Migrants

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has criticised Sweden for not taking in enough migrants, saying that more chain migration — or ‘family reunification’ — would “help integration”.

Muiznieks argued that Sweden should allow in more migrants, claiming that the emergency of the 2015 migrant crisis, which saw Sweden take in more migrants per capita than any other western European country, was over, Aftonbladet reports.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Germany: Town Teaches Muslim Migrants How to Pick Up Non-Muslim Women

By Robert Spencer

Probably the reasoning here is that it’s better that these Muslim migrants try to woo and win over girls rather than simply seizing and raping them, but the kind of information they’re giving doesn’t really seem conducive to instilling civilized behavior.

This young gentleman from Iran is not using the word as the all-purpose adjective it has become. He is talking about the object and goal of all the pick-up lessons he is receiving. Apologies for the language.

A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “If a husband calls his wife to his bed [i.e. to have sexual relation] and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning” (Bukhari 4.54.460).

Another hadith attributes this to Muhammad: “By him in whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself [to him for sexual intercourse] she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel’s saddle” (Ibn Majah 1854).

The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified. We have seen Muslim migrants all over Europe committing mass sexual assault and rape of non-Muslim women, making it clear that at least some Muslims do indeed believe that Sharia gives them sexual rights over women who aren’t covered.

Yes, there are hordes of non-Muslim men in the West who think the same way, but they do not come from a culture that denies women the right to refuse sex, and holds that Infidel women can be taken and used for sexual purposes.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sweden Democrats Promise to Reduce Asylum Numbers to Zero and End Chain Migration

The anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats (SD) have promised to reduce both asylum claims and chain migration — or ‘family reunification’ — to zero, and pledged to turn the migration board into a “remigration” board.

The election platform, released this week, claims that under an SD government Sweden would only take in asylum seekers from neighbouring countries. Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the party, said the SD policy, when compared to the Moderate Party, “is between 50,000 and 60,000 asylum and family immigrants per year,” Blekinge Läns Tidning reports.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

Swedish Politician: There Are Already Small Civil Wars in Our Country, We Need Zero Immigration

Kent Ekeroth, politician of the Sweden Democrats, said migration is the greatest threat to Sweden and Western Europe, Hungary’s newspaper Magyar Hirlap reports.

Ekeroth told the newspaper there are already “small civil wars in certain areas of the country”. Murder, rape and burglaries will undermine the lives of the Swedes, he said. In Ekeroth’s opinion, immigration must be stopped and deportations are needed.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]

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